Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins on Thursday announced final appointments to her executive cabinet, with the selection of Seleta Reynolds as its Chief Innovation Officer. Reynolds is currently the General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and is lauded for launching rider-serving innovations.
Ms. Reynolds joins a diverse group of transportation, project delivery, public safety, and customer experience professionals with proven track records of collaborating with public and private entities to deliver on big ideas. Other new appointments are:
•Jennifer Vides, formerly the Chief Customer Experience Officer at Metrolink and an expert in branding and organizations in transition, as Metro’s first Chief Customer Experience Officer.
•Sharon Gookin, an expert in mega-project delivery and a long-time executive with the Fluor Corporation, as the Deputy CEO.
Conan Cheung, the former Deputy Chief Operations Officer over bus operations at Metro, has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer.
•Gina Osborn, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent and Counterintelligence Official with the U.S. Army with over 28 years of experience in law enforcement, as Metro’s first Chief Safety & Security Officer.
•Robert Bonner, the former Assistant Director of Human Resources at Marin County, California, as Metro’s first Chief People Officer.
These talented and experienced individuals will join an industry-leading team that already includes: James de la Loza, Chief Planning Officer; Nalini Ahuja, Chief Financial Officer; Brian Pennington, Chief Program Management Officer, and; Nicole Englund, Chief of Staff.
“My vision is for Metro to be Angelenos’ first choice in transportation. This team will help me deliver on that vision,” said Wiggins. “Los Angeles is a world-class city, a global capital of creativity, trade, and culture. Angelenos want and deserve a world-class transit system. At Metro, we are committed to operating and building a system that puts the customer experience at the center of everything we do. I am excited about the exceptional talent we have attracted to innovate and lead the agency into the future.”
About Metro’s Newly Appointed Leaders
Seleta Reynolds, Chief Innovation Officer, appointed June 2022
Seleta Reynolds joins Metro from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, where she has been General Manager since 2014. There, she has championed rider-serving innovations including the introduction of mobile ticketing and free transit for students, the development of the nation’s largest electric vehicle carshare program, and the pilot of the nation’s largest universal basic mobility plan. Previously, Ms. Reynolds served at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, leading the Livable Streets Unit.
She has published four articles in Forbes magazine and a key article in the Eno Center for Transportation regarding the adaptation of Los Angeles for Urban Mobility in our Digital Age. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in American History from Brown University.
“It has been an honor and privilege to work alongside the incredible women and men of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation,” Reynolds said. “Under the leadership of Mayor Garcetti and the City Council, we have made traveling in L.A. a safer, more equitable and dignified experience for Angelenos. I could not think of a better place to build on this work than at Metro, supporting a bold leader and board with an ambitious agenda to tackle the region’s biggest challenges with creativity and a steadfast commitment to advancing opportunity for all.”
Jennifer Vides, Chief Customer Experience Officer, appointed June 2022
Jennifer Vides is Metro’s first Chief Customer Experience Officer, with oversight over Customer Care, Communications, Marketing and CX. In this role, Ms. Vides will advance a customer-first culture and ideate and launch new initiatives that improve the customer experience. Ms. Vides joined Metro from Southern California’s regional rail service Metrolink, where she launched high-touch customer programs including the SoCal Explorer loyalty program, the 5-Day and 10-Day Flex Passes targeted to those now telecommuting since the pandemic, and a customer opinion panel to put customers at the center of decision-making. At the same time, she repositioned the agency’s brand from commuter rail to a regional passenger rail operator that connects people to work, family, friends and fun.
Ms. Vides previously led marketing, communications and brand at the Public Media Group of Southern California, formed following the merger of PBS SoCal and KCET. She also brings private sector experience, having led marketing for retailers Hot Topic, Torrid and Gymboree, as well as working for global communications firms Burson-Marsteller, Weber Shandwick and the MSL Group. Vides holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Miami (Fla).
“It’s an exciting time to join Metro – we have ambitious plans that I believe can be transformational for L.A. and the quality of life of its residents,” Vides said. “Central to that is putting our customers at the center so they choose our service over other ways of getting around. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues to do that.”
Sharon Gookin, Deputy CEO, appointed May 2022
Sharon Gookin joined Metro as Deputy Chief Executive Officer. responsible for providing daily support and oversight of long-term planning and build-out of the transit system, driving Metro’s public-private partnership initiatives and overseeing the Metro Audit Services Department.
A 30-year veteran with the Fluor Corporation, Ms. Gookin began her career as a Design Engineer, and has served as a Deputy Project Director for the Purple Line Light Rail Transit Project (Maryland), I-495 Express Lanes Project (Virginia), and State Highway 130 Highway (Texas) Project. She has served as the Chief Engineer, leading the execution of all engineering within the Infrastructure Business Line. Ms. Gookin most recently served as the Design-Build Project Director for the LAX Automated People Mover Project, a $4.9 billion project.
She has proven expertise in driving major infrastructure projects nationwide using alternative delivery methods. Her experience touches all aspects of project development and execution, from environmental clearance through construction phases, including acting as an owner representative on a program management contract in San Bernardino County. Ms. Gookin was recently recognized for providing gold-standard transformational leadership to drive the successful execution of several complex construction projects.
Ms. Gookin holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and she holds a Master of Engineering, Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in California.
“With three decades of experience within the private sector delivering major transportation projects throughout the United States, I am thrilled to now be a part of the great team at Metro that is leading an infrastructure transformation in Los Angeles County,” said Gookin. “As the new Deputy CEO, my primary focus will be related to all aspects of the agency’s significant Capital Improvement Program. This includes long-term planning through final build-out and successful handoff to Operations. The work that Metro is doing is directly aligned with what I am most passionate about. It is a real privilege to now be a part of this team.”
Conan Cheung, Chief Operations Officer – Mobility Services & Development, appointed April 2022
Conan Cheung serves as Metro’s Chief Operations Officer. In this capacity, he is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the Metro bus and rail system, ExpressLanes, Metro Micro and bikeshare. He also oversees capital project start up, resource and service planning, scheduling, ITS and Highway programs. Mr. Cheung has also served as the Executive Officer of Finance and Budget and the Senior Executive Officer of Service Development, Scheduling, and Analysis.
Prior to Metro, he was the Director of Planning and Scheduling with San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and also worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for various transportation planning organizations. Mr. Cheung received a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning and Public Administration from the University of Southern California (USC), and a Master of Arts in Urban Planning from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
“I am excited to lead a team of dedicated and talented professionals in delivering safe, clean and reliable transportation services that provide access to opportunities for all who live, work and play in Los Angeles,” said Cheung. “I am prepared to take on difficult challenges and make hard decisions to advance transit services for our customers and improve the work environment for our employees.”
Gina Osborn, Chief Safety Officer, appointed February 2022
Gina Osborn is Metro’s first Chief Safety Officer, overseeing System Safety & Law Enforcement and Risk, Safety & Asset Management. The job is vital to ensuring that the Metro system is operated safely and that riders are safe on buses, trains and Metro facilities.
Ms. Osborn previously worked as a Counterintelligence Special Agent/Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army. She then became a Special Agent in the FBI, where she served in various leadership positions — and led the investigative oversight of the 2014 security breach at Sony Pictures.
With 28 years of experience in law enforcement, Ms. Osborn will bring a collaborative and creative approach to Metro’s commitment to safeguarding employees and the transit community. Osborn holds a BS in Psychology from the University of Maryland.
“I have experience working in fast-paced, high-stakes environments,” Osborn said. “At Metro, safety begins with me. I am dedicated to building a world class transit system that will be safe for our riders, employees and visitors to our region from across the globe.”
Robert Bonner, Chief People Officer, appointed January 2022
Robert Bonner is the first Chief People Officer at Metro and leads a department that oversees Metro’s labor and employee relations, talent acquisition and development and Information Technology.
Bonner brings more than 25 years of leadership experience in the city, county and state levels, and came to Metro from Marin County, where he was the Assistant Director of Human Resources, overseeing labor relations, job classification and compensation. Bonner graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with a BA in History and he holds a J.D. from Lincoln Law School.
“It is a privilege and honor to accept the challenge of cultivating a culture of excellence that values diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging,” Bonner said. “As the Chief People Officer at LA Metro, my vision is to work collaboratively with our employees, labor partners, and customers to restore trust and value the ‘human’ component of human resources. This means engaging our workforce and placing an emphasis on employees and customers first.”
Categories: Policy & Funding
Not actually trying to be negative with this one, but considering the terrible state the agency is in, this isn’t a good look for “diversity” in the agency. Wish them the best of luck, but I ain’t holding my breath.
Because one of the main reasons cited recently for lowered ridership on Metro is a perception of the system not being safe, it’s interesting to see so many women added to cabinet positions, especially as Chief Safety Officer. As a someone who uses the system whenever travel from Pasadena to several downtown and westside areas is necessary, I have seen increasingly alarming behavior on buses, light rail and subway cars as well as in stations and platforms over the past few years. I would suggest that those who are employed in making major decisions for the system occasionally use it themselves to experience what it’s like. I used to be proud to bring visitors to our region on the system. Now I hesitate to do so lest they be concerned for my safety. That’s just sad. Good luck to all the new appointees.